Published on Mon 12 Jan 2015





“There’s no-one in the streets but us. You run that way and I’ll run this way. Whoever gets back to the front door first and without getting shot, wins.”

Casting is announced today for Fireworks (ألعاب نارية) a new play by Palestinian playwright and poet Dalia Tala. Directed by the Royal Court’s International Associate Richard Twyman and set in Palestine, the play is inspired by recent events in Gaza and gives new insight to the impact of war on childhood. The Royal Court has been working in Palestine since 1998, the first workshop held at the Paradise hotel in Bethlehem and led by playwright Stephen Jeffreys, director Phyllida Lloyd and Royal Court International Director Elyse Dodgson. Fireworks has been developed with The Royal Court International Department over the last two years, and marks the first full production by an emerging Palestinian playwright which has been developed and staged by the company.

The cast includes Saleh Bakri, celebrated Palestinian actor known for his roles in films such as The Time That Remains (directed by Elia Suleiman), Salt of This Sea and Salvo; Nabil Elouahabi who recently appeared in The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes (Arcola Theatre) and played Tariq in EastEnders; Sirine Saba, recently in Holy Warriors (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Shereen Martin who starred in Channel 4’s BAFTA nominated Britz. They will be joined by four young actors George Karageorgis, Yusuf Hofri, Shakira Riddell-Morales and Eden Nathenson who will perform in pairs on alternate evenings.

In a Palestinian town eleven year-old Lubna and twelve year-old Khalil are playing on the empty stairwell in their apartment block. As the siege intensifies outside, fear for their safety becomes as crippling as the conflict itself.

Fireworks (ألعاب نارية) was developed as part of The Royal Court’s international residency and is part of International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation Project. The theatre has worked in Palestine since 1998, both running playwriting programmes and workshops throughout the country, as well as bringing artists to London.

The production is directed by Richard Twyman, translated by Clem Naylor, designed by Lizzie Clachan, lighting is by Natasha Chivers, music is by Benedict Taylor and sound design is by George Dennis.

Dalia Taha is a Palestinian poet and playwright. She was born in Berlin in 1986 and grew up in Ramallah, Palestine. Her first play Keffiyeh/Made in China was produced by the Flemish Royal Theatre and A.M. Qattan Foundation, and premiered in Brussels before touring seven Palestinian cities across the West Bank. The play was given a staged reading in July 2013 at the Mosaic Rooms in London, as part of the Shubbak Festival, in association with the Royal Court. Dalia is currently pursuing an MFA in Playwriting at Brown University and has published two collections of poetry and one novel.

Richard Twyman directs. International Associate at the Royal Court, he recently directed The Djinns of Eidgah by Abhishek Majumdar, Phil in Space by Tom Wells as part of Unusual Unions (also at Wilderness Festival) and A New Song as part of New Plays from South Africa at the Royal Court. Richard directed The Djinns of Eidgah for Rage Theatre in Mumbai as part of the Writers Bloc Festival. His other credits include Henry IV Pt II for the multi-Olivier Award winning RSC Histories Cycle (Olivier Awards for Best Ensemble, Best Revival and Evening Standard Editor’s Choice Award), Ditch at the Old Vic Tunnels/HighTide, Sixty-Six Books at the Bush Theatre and Give Me Your Hand (nominated for a Drama Desk Award), at the Irish Rep, New York.

Fireworks (ألعاب نارية), is presented as part of International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation Project, with additional support from the British Council and the A.M. Qattan Foundation.

The Big Idea: Fireworks (ألعاب نارية)

The Big Idea is a new strand of work at the Royal Court launched during last year’s Open Court festival, offering audiences radical thinking and provocative discussion inspired by the work on stage.

Dalia Taha in conversation
With Richard Twyman and Elyse Dodgson
Friday 20 February, post-show
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Free with a ticket to this performance

Raja Shehadeh in conversation with David Greig
Award-winning author and leading Palestinian writer Raja Shehadeh in conversation with David Greig on his book Language of Peace, Language of War. This event will be followed by a book signing in the bookshop after the show.
Thursday 26 February, 6pm
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
£5 or free with a ticket to this performance

Spoken Word: Fajr Tamimi and Yaz Fentazi
Fiery, lyrical, spoken word exploring the conflicts in her homeland from Palestinian poet and writer Fajr Tamimi, with musical accompaniment by Algerian oud player and composer Yaz Fentazi.
Thursday 5 March, 10pm
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
£5 or free with a ticket to this performance, must be booked in advance

Women and Children in Gaza: Reem Abu Jaber and Nahil Mohana
Reem Abu Jaber, General Manager of Nawa for Culture and Arts Association in Gaza, will lead a discussion on the effects of the recent war in Gaza on local children, accompanied by a short film. This will be followed by a sharing of new play in progress, LIPSTICK, by the Gazan writer Nahil Mohana, directed by Caitlin McLeod. Supported by Womens Playhouse Trust (aka The Wapping Project).
Saturday 7 March, 12.30
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
£10 or £5 with a ticket to Fireworks.

Katiba 5 and 47Soul
Palestinian hip-hop group Katiba 5 bring their blend of rap and resistance to the Royal Court Bar. Plus, the revolutionary sounds of 47 SOUL, whose music fuses Arabic Reggae, Hip-Hop, and Mijwz with Debka, Rai and Afrobeat grooves. *Music events curated by Arts Canteen.
Friday 13 March, 10pm
Royal Court Bar

Cast Biographies:
Saleh Bakri is an established Palestinian theatre and film actor. Known for his roles in Palestinian films such as When I Saw You, Salt of this Sea and the award-winning The Time That Remains as well as internationally acclaimed Salvo. His theatre credits include roles in A Day of Our Time by Saadallah Wannous, The Screens by Jean Genet and Forget Herostratus by Grigori Gorin. Bakri is from a line of actors, his father is award-winning actor and director Mohammed Bakri.

Nabil Elouahabi most recently appeared on stage in The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes (Arcola Theatre). His other theatre credits include Love Your Soldiers (Sheffield Crucible), The Great Game, The Lion of Kabul and Crossing Jerusalem (all Tricycle Theatre). Nabil is known for playing regular character Tariq in EastEnders. His other television work includes Top Boy (Series 2), 24: Live Another Day, Mad Dogs, Law & Order: UK and Only Fools And Horses. On film he has appeared in Zero Dark Thirty, Journey to Mecca, Charlie Wilson’s War, Asylum and Ali G Indahouse and the Sum of All Fears.

Yusuf Hofri has previously appeared in Thriller Live (West End).

George Karageorgis makes his professional stage debut.

Eden Nathenson has previously appeared in Jonah Man Jazz (St James’ Theatre). Her film work includes Dolls Can’t Cry, Christmas Time, Radio Radio, Santa Claus is Dead.

Shakira Riddel-Morales has previously appeared in Les Misérables (West End). Her television work includes Basil & Barney’s Swap Shop and Small Potatoes.

Sirine Saba’s extensive theatre credits include Next Fall (Southwark Playhouse), Holy Warriors, Anthony & Cleopatra, Osmund the Great Turk (all Shakespeare’s Globe), Keepers of Infinite Space (Park Theatre), The Winter’s Tale, HMS Pinafore, Twelfth Night (all Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Scorched, New Voices (Young Vic), Nation (National Theatre), Beauty and the Beast, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dreams (All RSC). Saba has also made several television appearances with roles in The Bill, Footballers Wives, Silent Witness and Doctors. Her film work includes I am Slave.

Shereen Martin recently appeared in the title role of The Only True History of Lizzie Finn at the Southwark Playhouse. Her other theatre credits include Tonight at 8:30 (UK Tour), Ciphers (Out of Joint), Measure for Measure and Titus Andronicus (both RSC), Model for Mankind (Cock Tavern) The Hour we Knew Nothing Of Each Other and The Black Album (National Theatre) and The Bomb (Tricycle Theatre). She is also known for her role in BAFTA award-winning drama Britz.

The Big Idea
The Big Idea is a new strand of work launched during Open Court, offering audiences radical thinking and provocative discussion inspired by the work on stage. The Big Idea seeks to foster debate and collaboration, bringing together leading thinkers and artists from all walks of life to engage with the big ideas of our times, through a series of debates and events.
AlixPartners support The Big Idea at the Royal Court Theatre.

International Playwriting at the Royal Court Theatre
Since 1996 the Royal Court Theatre has travelled the world, running long-term play development projects and building relationships between playwrights, directors, actors and translators. Working with playwrights and theatre artists in 70 countries and in 40 languages, the work is supported by the Genesis Foundation and the British Council. The Royal Court Theatre has worked in Palestine since 1998, working with dozens of playwrights both running playwriting programmes and workshops in numerous cities across the country, as well as bringing artists to London. Many Royal Court writers and directors have taken part in these projects since its start, alongside International Director, Elyse Dodgson including Mike Bartlett, April De Angelis, David Greig, Stephen Jeffreys, Phyllida Lloyd, Anthony Neilson, Rufus Norris, Penelope Skinner, Richard Twyman and Sacha Wares.

Fireworks (Al’ab Nariya) is presented as part of International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation Project.
The Genesis Foundation supports the Royal Court’s International Playwrights Programme. It funds the International department’s workshops in diverse countries as well as residencies at the Royal Court that find and develop the next generation of professional playwrights. The Foundation’s involvement extends to productions and rehearsed readings which helps the Royal Court to provide a springboard for young writers to greater public and critical attention. For more information, please visit

Fireworks (Al’ab Nariya) is supported by British Council. For more information on the British Council and its work, please visit

Fireworks (Al’ab Nariya) is supported by the A.M. Qattan Foundation. It is a UK charity dedicated to the support of culture and education in Palestine and the Arab world.